Demonstrating an Estuarine Soundscape Observatory Network in the Southeast: Understanding baseline rhythms of biological sounds and correlations to traditional biodiversity measurements to support long-term sustainable monitoring

PI: Canonico, Gabrielle (NOAA Integrated Ocean Observing System)
Co-PI(s): Montie, Eric (University of South Carolina Beaufort) : Dorton, Jennifer (Southeast Coastal Ocean Observing Regional Association) : Ballenger, Joseph (South Carolina Department of Natural Resources) : Smith, Erik (North Inlet-Winyah Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve) : Dunn, Robert (North Inlet-Winyah Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve) : Porter, Dwayne (National Estuarine Research Reserve System)
Start Year: 2020 | Duration: 1 years
Partners: NOAA, Southeast Coastal Ocean Observing Regional Association, University of South Carolina Beaufort, South Carolina Department of Natural Resources

Project Abstract:

The goal of this project is to advance a new Estuarine Soundscape Observatory Network in the Southeastern U.S. that is scalable to other regions through: integration of long-term soundscape characterization (i.e. passive acoustics) into coastal marine observatories, including National Estuarine Research Reserves in South Carolina and the Southeast Coastal Ocean Observing Regional Association; use of a cloud-based platform for collaboration and data manipulation across observing networks, researchers and managers; and development of data syntheses, visualizations and products to ensure the data are relevant for management applications. Soundscape data are used to monitor animal behavior at multiple levels of biological complexity (i.e., from snapping shrimp to fish to marine mammals) and at time scales ranging from minutes to years. The soundscape approach allows the ability to ‘eavesdrop’ on key behaviors of marine animals that can change rapidly or gradually in response to environmental changes and human impacts, thus providing a measure of resilience or shifting baselines in a globally changing environment and for economically important or protected species. This project will advance our understanding of how to deploy passive acoustic technologies in combination with environmental data and traditional biodiversity surveys as well as processes for analyzing and handling these ‘big data’ using cloud-based collaborative tools at a resolution appropriate for regional to larger-scale observing networks.